Tens of traders at the Olomoyoyo community market in the Oluyole local government area of Oyo State, on Monday, staged a protest to the state Secretariat against the planned demolition of the market.
Carrying placards and chanting “Seyi gba wa o”, the traders opposed a plan by the local government authorities led by its chairman, Olaide Settle to demolish the market.
The traders led by their chairman, Mr Samuel Afolabi, hinged their protest on the decision of the council chairman to hand over the market to a developer who is set to demolish and rebuild the market.
Afolabi said that traders are not averse to increased rent if a renovation is done but do not support a demolition.
Afolabi bemoaned that the livelihood of traders and their dependants running into 5,000 will be adversely affected for the duration of planned market development.
The market chairman added that many of the traders built the shops themselves, had been there for about 40years and had a 99-year agreement with the government on the use of the land.
Speaking with Tribune Online on the protest, the Oluyole council chairman, Settle, said the council decided to demolish and facelift the market because it was found to be grossly underutilised.
Settle added that the council also took note of the strategic location of the market and deemed it fit to give the market a facelift that can cast Oluyole local government in good light.
He said the council, in 2019, discovered that the market was underutilised and informed the market leaders of a plan to take charge of the management of the market.
In light of this, he said the council asked the traders to stop paying rent upon discovery that the sum of N71,000 was remitted to the council for the year 2019.
Settle said there was no going back on the planned market development to span 18 months and in three phases, with over 324 shops to be built.
Settle said he had allayed fears of the shop owners that they will get due reallocation based on the valuation of their shops before demolition.
He, however, said the protest might not be unconnected with those with many shops insisting on getting the same number of shops before demolition when the market is rebuilt.
Source: Tribune Online